Microsoft is finally going for a wider roll out of its Teams platform. The company announced that it was launching its communications platform more widely. Teams is now available to all of Microsoft’s 85 million or so monthly active Office 365 users. The service is available as a free ad-on for folks who have already taken an Office 365 subscription.
Teams is available both as a web app, as well as native apps for Windows, iOS and Android platforms. Microsoft also said that it was launching as many as 150 integrations with third-party services like Asana and Zendesk. The company hoeps that by offering users access to an experience that is free, available with their Office 365 subscription and laden with useful integrations, it will be able to entice users from competitors like Slack.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is expecting the success it had with the preview of Teams to continue. The company said that the Teams preview had as many as 50,000 organizations sign up to try the service out. That is a pretty impressive number and combined with the huge user base Office 365 offers, could well lead to a service able to hold its ground against Slack and its peers.
The market has seen a huge surge in applications that cater to communications at the workplace. From the ever present Slack to Workplace from Facebook, there are plenty of options available for users to conduct their conversations over. There are actually too many options available and there are questions being raised about whether Microsoft is too late. However, the company has a couple of things going in its favor.
First off, Teams is free. That is in itself a huge advantage over competitors like Workplace by Facebook or Slack, that offer paid and premium subscriptions after a free tier. The service is free for now and while that may change in the future, it is certain to make Teams appealing.
Next up is the fact that many, many enterprises already rely heavily on the Office 365 suite of applications. So people are already using a large number of the apps offered by Microsoft, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and so on. By adding Teams as a free add-on, Microsoft has gone out of its way to be welcoming to new users.
The app offers you quite a lot by way of functionality as well. From direct chats, audio and video calls, call in spreadsheets and other documents, analytics, discussion groups…..Teams might well be one of the most capable workplace communication applications out there. True, the app takes a bit of getting used to but Microsoft has also included a chatbot to help you adapt better.
Meanwhile, the war to grab market share over workplace communication is getting hotter. The reason why this market is different than others, is because the customers here are much larger and instead of individuals, take the form of enterprises. Considering that many organizations already use Microsoft services in one form or the other, that is one huge advantage the company has right there.
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